The 1960s were high times for Italian car design and coachbuilding. The short-lived firm Officine Stampaggio Industriale, or OSI for short, wouldn’t see the end of that decade despite producing some beautiful vehicles.
A partnership between former Ghia president Luigi Segre and an executive from auto parts manufacturer Fergot, OSI was launched in 1960 as an in-house carrozzeria to serve the manufacturing needs of design firm Ghia. Its mission was to facilitate manufacturing of bodies for short production runs of special vehicles.
One such vehicle was the OSI-Ford 20M coupe you see here, which came to us recently by way of Switzerland for a full restoration. Concealing the mechanical package of the German-market 1967-68 Ford Taunus (yes, Taunus with an “n”), its sleek lines were undoubtedly more impressive than the pedestrian hardware underneath.
Powered by either a 2.0- or 2.3-liter Cologne V6 feeding the rear wheels through a 4-speed gearbox, the OSI coupe was hardly a powerhouse. With stopping power coming from front disc and rear drum brakes and its solid rear axle suspended by leaf springs, it couldn’t match the performance or sophistication of other European grand tourers of the time.
But compared to Ford’s own Taunus 20M coupe, it possessed rock star presence. Penned by Sergio Sartorelli and crafted in steel, the design is unmistakably Italian, especially from the rear. From most other angles the OSI-Ford 20M bears a strong resemblance to the Aston Martin DBS that also debuted in 1967, designed by rival Italian firm Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera.
The interior was trimmed in the manner of other contemporary GT Coupes, with leather upholstery, wood dash trim and wool carpeting. From the driver’s seat it possessed the airiness of a first-generation Mustang combined with world-class materials and finishes.
Production ended when the company entered bankruptcy in 1968 amid declining orders for coachbuilt cars. Fewer than 1,300 examples of the OSI-Ford 20M were built in its two-year run, less than a third of them powered by the larger V6 engine. It’s believed that fewer than 200 still survive today.